"These colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states"
Employed in the service of my country abroad during the whole course of these transactions, I first saw the Constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads prompted by good hearts, as an experiment better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations of this nation and country than any which had ever been proposed or suggested. In its general principles and great outlines it was conformable to such a system of government as I had ever most esteemed, and in some States, my own native State in particular, had contributed to establish. Claiming a right of suffrage, in common with my fellow-citizens, in the adoption or rejection of a constitution which was to rule me and my posterity, as well as them and theirs, I did not hesitate to express my approbation of it on all occasions, in public and in private.
John Adams, Inaugural Address, March 4, 1797
John Adams is worthy of a place of high honor, not only in the United States but in all countries which cherish rights and freedoms under law. He is the very model of one who would cherish rights and freedoms, not just for himself, his family and his fellow countrymen but for all people, even his enemies.
The law, in all vicissitudes of government, fluctuations of the passions, or flights of enthusiasm, will preserve a steady undeviating course; it will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations, and wanton tempers of men.
It does not enjoin that which pleases a weak, frail man, but without any regard to persons, commands that which is good, and punishes evil in all, whether rich, or poor, high or low,'Tis deaf, inexorable, inflexible. On the one hand it is inexorable to the cries and lamentations of the prisoners; on the other it is deaf, deaf as an adder to the clamours of the populace.
Summation of John Adams, Trial of British Soldiers, Boston.
The Legal Papers of John Adams, No. 64, Rex v Wemms.
John Adams lived by a code later enshrined in the words-to-live-by of Abraham Lincoln:
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
And now, reminded by this Limey of the words and deeds of a famous Yankee, let me say only this to my friends in the colonies:
Party Like It's 1776 !
It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.